If Betsy DeVos’ Nomination Tells Us Anything, It’s That We Can’t Wait To Educate Our Own Youth

By: Imani J. Jackson

“Make America Think Again,” several protestors’ signs read at a Jacksonville, Florida Sister March to the historic Women’s March on Washington. So far, 673 solidarity marches have been recorded and nearly five million people participated worldwide. The signs, a play on President Donald Trump’s co-opted Ronald Reagan catchphrase, and several Plural-led speeches against Trump’s lengthy “isms” history, reminded me that American anti-intellectualism breeds high human costs. I also remembered that teenagers of color care about and deserve to learn about the history, present and future of their nation.

White House Considers Funding More Police Officers in Public Schools

According to the Washington Post, the White House is considering the prospects of supplying funding for a larger police presence in public schools.

The measure would be one element of a broad gun violence initiative that would include “a ban on high-capacity ammunition clips and universal background checks.”

The school safety plan would set aside funds for schools that want more police on their campuses, as well as better surveillance equipement.

STUDY: Parents Have Greater Impact On Academic Success Than Schools

According to a recent study, parents are more influential on their child’s academic success that the school their child attends.

The report asserts that the effort a parent puts in at home – checking homework, encouraging strong academic performances from their children, etc. – is ultimately more important than the quality of the student’s school.

To arrive at their findings, researchers compared “family social capital” and “school social capital” for 10,000 12th graders.

REPORT: More African American Parents Turning to Homeschooling

According to The National Home Education Research Institute, more African American parents are choosing to homeschool their children:

Nationwide, home-schooling grew from 1.7 percent of the school-age population in 1999 to 2.9 percent in 2007, according to the U.S. Department of Education. The total number of kids being home-schooled has more than doubled since 1999 to more than two million, according to estimates. Some 220,000 of those students are African-American, according to The National Home Education Research Institute.

Chicago Students Protest School Disciplinary Policies That Perpetuate School-To-Prison Pipeline

A coalition of Chicago Public School students protested outside of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office on Tuesday, demanding that the city implement disciplinary policies that don’t send black and Latino students down a path to prison.

As we reported to you a few months ago, CPS’s dependence on the Chicago Police Department to control students is pushing a disturbingly high number of juveniles into the criminal justice system. An organization called Voices of Youth in Chicago Education (VOYCE) points to recent data showing that 2,500 people have been arrested on CPS property this school year alone; the vast majority of them have been black youth.

REPORT: Black Students Face Harsher Discipline In Schools

According to a new report from the Department of Education, Black students face harsher discipline in schools, as well as a variety of other serious disparities.

Black students represented 18 percent of students in the schools sampled, yet they accounted for 35 percent of those suspended once, 46 percent of those suspended more than once, and 39 percent of those expelled. Overall, Black students are three and a half times more likely to be suspended or expelled.

And that’s not all.

Black 8th Grader’s Essay Comparing Education System To Slavery Ignites Outrage

A 8th grader’s incendiary essay comparing today’s education system to slavery is causing a firestorm of controversy in her upstate New York community.

13 year-old Jada Williams,writing an essay on Frederick Douglass for a contest, made the very astute analysis that packing 30-40 students into a crowded classroom, and having mostly white teachers give them packets and pamphlets to complete that they don’t fully comprehend, impedes the learning process; and that this produces results similar to those hoped for by a slave master that forbids his slaves from learning how to read at all.

Jada’s point is that nothing has really changed since the days of Frederick Douglass; “the same old discrimination still resides in the hearts of the white man.”

Why Are There So Few Black Students at NYC’s Specialized High Schools?

The New York Times ran a fascinating article on NYC’s flagship specialized public school Stuyvesant High School, and its dwindling number Black and Latino students.

3,295 students go to Stuyvesant; yet only 40 of them are Black. Black students make up 1.2 percent of the student body, while Latinos are just 2.4 percent.

Admission to Stuyvesant is based solely on a candidates scores on an entrance exam; race and ethnicity are not considered. But one has to wonder if more should be done to attract a more diverse student body, or to least make sure everyone is even being made aware of the entrance exam at all, not to mention the many (oftentimes expensive) tools and resources of which many canditates take advantage to better their chances of admission.